Why Nonprofit Marketing Matters

Directions for use: You know what I’m going to say—that’s why you read this blog. But here’s clear, compelling messaging to use in your discussions with colleagues and/or leadership who just don’t get why marketing matters.

Marketing is how your organization builds and strengthens your relationships with the people whose help you need to move your mission forward, as donors, partners, volunteers or in other roles. Without establishing those relationships and then nurturing them on an ongoing basis, your org will be spinning its wheels.

Fundraising is just one type of relationship: building your ties with current and prospective donors. So no, fundraising isn’t more important than marketing, nor does it replace marketing.

Communications is just one component of marketing—getting your content out the door. So no, marketing and communications aren’t interchangeable terms.

Marketing is a cyclical 7-step process:

  1. Setting goals and target audiences
  2. Research (getting to know your audiences, trends and influences in the environment in which your working, and the competition for attention, time and donations)
  3. Planning
  4. Creative development (writing, design, web development)
  5. Communications (the implementation)
  6. Tracking
  7. Fine-tuning based on results.

If you’re doing fundraising but not marketing, or communications but not marketing, or fundraising and communications but not marketing, you’re losing out on the potential to develop more and stronger relationships.  Plus you’re likely to be alienating some of the very folks who are most important to engage, because you’re just not doing the work you need to do to frame what you want in the context of what they want—disconnect.

That’s why nonprofit marketing matters!

Please share your definitions, marketing habits (or lack thereof) and other comments here.

Nancy Schwartz in Strategy | 2 comments
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